Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means the immune system – which is there to protect your body and fight infection — gets discombobulated and starts attacking your own tissue.

What RA Does To Your Body?

RA causes inflammation in and around the joints, which shows itself as swelling, pain, tenderness, stiffness and redness.

The most common flare ups are in the small joints of the hands, wrists and feet.

It can also attack organs, with symptoms like dry eyes and mouth, chest pain and shortness of breath, low red and white blood cell counts, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Rheumatoid Arthritis And Your Feet

Nine out of 10 people with rheumatoid arthritis will develop problems with their feet or ankles, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

The inflammation most often impacts the toes and front of the feet first, progressing into the back of the feet and then the ankles. RA may also cause patients to develop painful conditions like bunions, corns, hammertoe, thick skin on the bottom of the forefront, pain in the sole or ball of the foot and flat feet.

The inflammation and symptoms often come and go, with the periods between them lasting anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.

But it typically worsens with each subsequent inflammation, and can lead to the permanent destruction of the cartilage, bone and ligaments.

Visible deformity can result before the symptoms are even that severe. So it’s important to seek treatment immediately.

Causes of RA

Doctors don’t know yet what causes RA, but it has long been suspected that there’s a hereditary link that might predispose certain people. 

RA is also more common among smokers, which is yet one more reason to quit smoking (as if cancer wasn’t scary enough!)

Despite its reputation for being a disease of the elderly, RA can flare up at any age.  It usually rears its ugly head between ages 40-60, but can even affect kids (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), which might begin to limp, be irritable, cry a lot or lose their appetite. Also, women are more likely to develop RA than men.

RA Tests and Treatments

There isn’t one simple test that we can use to diagnose RA.

Instead, we look at the big picture including overall symptoms, history, blood work and sometimes X-rays for a diagnosis.  After the diagnosis, we work with a patient’s rheumatologist (an arthritis specialist) to reduce inflammation, alleviate discomfort and prevent further damage to the joints in the foot.

An early diagnosis and treatment program can make a huge difference in the long-term progression of this disease, so it’s best to see a doctor as soon as you begin showing symptoms.  Treatment options depend on several factors like which joints are involved, how far the disease has progressed, other symptoms like bunions and flat feet, your age, general health, activity level and your daily lifestyle. 

It usually involves some combination of medications, orthotics, rest, special exercises to strengthen the affected joints, protecting the joints, and rest.  In more severe cases involving disfigurement, surgery might be necessary.

If you are experiencing foot pain, call our office or make an online appointment


Staff was extremely friendly and professional. They took us back immediately and no waiting for doctor to come in. Dr Settles-Carter was amazing with my little girl. She took her time and explained every detail to my daughter. As we were leaving my little girl said Dr Settles-Carter was the best doctor ever. Coming from a 10yr old.

Bert King

It took some work, and patience, but my feet are much better now. Dr. Freels worked with me to find exercises, and more importantly, the right shoe to wear. So nice not to dread going into work, for the pain of simply walking. Despite what another review here says, they've never tried to sell me any shoes there, have always left the choice up to me.

Robert Griffith

The staff was very courteous. However, the care provided by Dr. Carter and the staff in the back was exceptional! I finally had answers for my health concerns and issues and a course or plan of treatment including the costs of the services they provide. I especially liked the hours of operation...I can see a doctor for the treatment I need without having to use my personal and sick days! Love the flexibility. Lastly, the ambiance esthetics were relaxing and beautiful.

Bonnie Ogle Taylor

The entire staff at Lexington Podiatry was very welcoming and friendly. Jill went out of her way to make sure my daughter was taken care of. We appreciate being seen so quickly (it would have taken weeks to have seen an orthopedist for her foot injury). Now, she is on the road to recovery! Great office, thanks everyone!

Team Wade 24

Had a great experience! Everyone was very nice, it was clean, the doctor took time to listen to me. She showed me my x-rays and explained them to me. I would recommend them to family and friends.

Heather Purvis

Accepted Insurance Providers

There may be providers, plans and coverage not included on this list. We will help you with navigating the options for coverage and costs. We also accept HSA, Flex accounts, Care Credit and prompt pay pricing for treatment at the clinic and surgical procedures. We do not accept Medicaid or CareSource plans at this time. Visit our New Patient page for more details.